Monday, June 18, 2007

Making Ferndale Green(er)

It may seem to be a no-brainer, but since our country has squandered that last decade when it could have become more energy efficient and self-sufficient, then it may not be obvious enough yet. This earth has finite resources, and with six and one half billion people living on it, we must begin to act more responsibly.

The first "Earth Day" was in April 1970. That year I was 13 years old when I organized a gang of kids to clean up an empty lot that was full of trash and abandoned tires. Thirty-seven years later, Americans are still driving cars that get 13 or 16 miles per gallon.

Since our national leaders refuse to lead, cities and states are trying to do the right thing. That is why Ferndale created bike lanes, downtown walkability, and hosts the "Green Cruise" each year. We advocate for mass transit, and support better public transportation. That is why we plant dozens of new trees each year.

That is also why I pushed for, and got passed, the free parking ordinance for high mileage cars and hybrids. Not because we want to penalize some drivers, or because I am buying an Ford Escape Hybrid. It is because government has always been used to encourage beneficial behavior..(think home ownership and mortgage interest deductions). There is no reason that we could not reduce our dependency on foreign oil, and safe costs, fresh air, and refining capacity. How many people really need to dive a hummer to the grocery store?

As it has in so many ways, Ferndale will set an example for others to emulate. We will cut energy costs, reduce waste, cut down on pollution, and make our quality of life better. We will breathe easier, and be healthier. Save the Earth. Re-use, Return, Recycle...rejuvenate.